black oscar award diversity

While Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, an African American, responded to the absence of Oscar nominations for Black folks this year by hoping for increased diversity in the future, news show-hosting civil activist and preacher Al Sharpton has called for an emergency meeting to discuss a plan of action to address what he called Hollywood’s “appallingly insulting” slight..

I guess we’ll soon hear about another round of demonstrations—led by Reverend Sharpton, of course.

Just like the election of a Black US President hasn’t started America’s transition to a post-racial Shangri-La, you can’t be surprised—despite AMPAS donning a Black face at the top—that we haven’t witnessed a magical, see-no-color Hollywood!

Colors mean less to me than policies, behaviors and results.

But back to Rev. Sharpton—don’t you think it’s time for him to update his playbook?

I don’t care to hold a picket sign in Hollywood or NYC. And I’m not interested in a boycott.

Here’s an idea for Big Rev and his gang to tackle—launch a team that will examine the feasibility and desirability of a process that will boost the sourcing, marketing and distribution of films from the African Diaspora. The next step would be to create an alternative Academy that will hand out awards. Shoot, the new Academy can choose to also recognize worthy White flicks—we don’t want the Dwindling White Male Species Club to scream reverse racism (laughing)…

And since the DWMSC seems to have overrun AMPAS for the past 80-plus years, I’m sure no one would mind if more faces of color find their way to the Alternate Academy I’m suggesting.

A talk given years ago Charles Burnett, creator of the film To Sleep with Anger, makes my earlier mention of film distribution a highly deliberate one. Burnett told the audience that because major studios would strong-arm theaters into playing the former’s releases, films like his were pushed to outside position of the theater bubble. This means any new film distribution scheme would have to be innovative, as well as flexible.

My main point is simple—AMPAS is not going to change its selection preferences anytime soon, and beefing about AMPAS today only further glamorizes the Oscars’ standing. Therefore, establish a roadmap to deglamorize AMPAS while creating a replacement—assuming there’s a viable audience for consumption

song currently stuck in my head: “simbora” – paulinho da costa


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